Leeeeavin...on a jet plane...

Obsidian Kitten is leaving in the a.m. for NYC! Woo-hoo!

I don't know if I'll have any internet access while I'm there...definitely not for the first few days anyway, while we visit the Jersey Shore (Seaside Park, to be exact). Yippee!

O'Kitten shall return to the O'K Corral sometime on August 9th. You kids be good in my absence, and post lots of pictures!

Purple Puddy and the 3 Obsidian Cats

I found a picture of me in the infamous purple poncho WITH matching hat. This fine ensemble was crafted by the grandma who is currently teaching me to crochet. Isn't it too fabulous? Looking through the photo album with Grandma, we were laughing because I swear nearly half the pictures from 1973 to 1976 show me sporting this poncho. "See?" I said to her. "I told you I liked it!"

And now a brief photographic paean to the three obsidian cats that have cohabited with yours truly.

Sambo, April 1969.
Don't look at me, I didn't name him, I swear.
I wasn't even born when my parents adopted him!

Panther, summer 1980.
She didn't have a single white hair on her.
Her sister Tiger was tabby and white.

Isis Kyle, July 2006, in the S'n'B Snowball bed.
Famous Obsidian Kitten knit model.
Well-known for her owl-eyed stare, huge six-toed front paws, and signature wrestling "sleeper" hold.


Things Grannies Make

Someone here commented that "granny squares are the building blocks of fashion." This prompted me to show off one of the most prized pieces in my wardrobe, a full-length granny-square skirt my grandmother made for my mom in the 70s.

I love this skirt, and often wear it around the holidays with a long vintage burgundy velvet jacket. First of all, it is SO warm (yes, much like wearing an afghan, duh!), and it is so stunning. Quite the conversation piece!

I should probably mention that this skirt wasn't made by the grandma who is currently teaching me to crochet, but by my other grandma, my mom's mother, who passed away a few years ago. She was also quite the seamstress, making many of my clothes for me when I was little, and a very avid knitter. My mom recently found this fisherman's sweater, which Grandma made me.
Now that I've learned very basic cabling skills, I'm completely in awe of the detail on this very small cableknit sweater. I remember wearing it a lot, but aside from a tiny bit of pilling on the elbows, it could practically be new.

My mother and I decided to pass this lovely little sweater on to my cousin's daughter, who would be Grandma's great-granddaughter. I think that's a perfect idea.

And one more handmade-me-down--a granny-square poncho! Now bear with me, there's a little story behind this one.
This brown and tan one is my mom's, also made by Grandma in the 70s. I had a small matching purple and lavender one, and we even had little skully caps in matching colors.

Purple was my favorite color, and I wore that poncho and cap to school every single day that Michigan weather would allow. (I'm sure my mom had to tear it off of me when the weather got too cold for it.) I was in kindergarten, and had to ride the bus with big kids...you know, like third graders, maybe even sixth graders. And you know what they called tiny little Obsidian Kitten in her purple poncho and matching hat? Purple Puddy Tat! Imagine!

Well, I wore it anyway, despite the teasing and the taunts. I loved it too much to change.

I don't know whatever happened to my little purple poncho, but I was truly delighted that my mom kept her brown one and passed it on to me. Ponchos rule!
Granny squares are obviously "the building blocks of fashion" (gee, I wish I'D thought to say that)--and for all we know, they may well be the windows to the soul as well. The things grannies make certainly are!

First Skulls, First Squares

My first skulls have reached their intended recipient,
kind enough to model them here.

I'm beginning to get the hang of crochet,
thanks to a good teacher in the person of my Grandma.
These are my first Granny Squares!
(Yes, I do sense the irony.)

Morgan seemed to expect said squares to transform
into some delightful type of cat toy.
I gently informed her that they are to become a baby blanket,
and I believe you can see the disappointment on her face.

7/31/06 Editor O'K's Note: Skully model is not Mr. O'Kitten, but our dear friend Chad, who was gifted with the skullies and kind enough to model them for me.


Who's New at the O'K Corral

Meet Switzer (at left) and Lacey (in the foreground), who just arrived last Saturday. You may notice the family resemblance--Lacey is the 3 year-old daughter of 14 year-old Switzer. I'm posting this (not-so-great) photo of them in the barn first, so you can see what an interesting beigey-grey color Lacey's fleece is.

Llamas are herd animals, so the two girls came together to keep one another company. The exciting news is that Lacey is pregnant, due to have her first cria (baby llama) in October, give or take a few weeks. The dent in Lacey's chest fleece (above) is from leaning through the fence on whose other side, as we all know, the grass is always greener.
Switzer, being 14, is an experienced llama mama and will hopefully help Lacey along with her first pregnancy. The other reason Switzer was chosen to accompany her daughter to our farm is that she suffers from some arthritis, and our place is much flatter than her previous home and should stress her joints less.
The surprising news is that Switzer may also be pregnant! A particularly lively, fence-hopping male llama by the name of Sal paid her a visit and it is entirely possible that his seed was not sown in vain. We'll have to wait until fall to have the vet confirm whether or not she too is with baby.

Meanwhile, Graty and Llannie are quite fascinated by the new arrivals and have learned to make all sorts of strange new sounds (snorts, raspberries, tuts, clucks, and snuffles) to express their various feelings on the matter. I'll keep you posted...

However, I don't want you to have to go completely kitten-less, so here are shots of our latest XXX-Treme Cage Match, held in the increasingly popular Laundry Basket Arena. Weighing in at 5.25 lbs, we have 4 month-old Isis "Moose" Kyle in the black robes, facing off against her fierce competitor, 6 month-old Morgan "Squirrel" LeFay at a wiry 4.5 lbs in the silver-striped trunks.
Ladies and gentlemen, let the battle begin!

Once again, I believe it was, uh, a draw.
The competitors retire to their dressing room to recuperate...judges?


The People Who are Going to Hate Me

I mean, the people that I've tagged because I thought it'd be interesting to hear their six things. Besides, it's all knitted_painting's fault anyway. Feel free to flame me and/or respond to this post with hateful comments.

Those who have been tagged are listed below.
Blah Blah Blog

My own answers/confessional tell-all may be found below. In the event that you too wish to bare your soul and find yourself wishing you HAD been tagged, feel free to contact one of the unlucky souls above.

oh, so i was tagged...

Knitted Painting tagged (http://knittedpainting.blogspot.com/2006/07/ive-been-tagged.html) me. I'm supposed to come up with "6 weird things/habits" about myself and then pick on six other bloggers/diarists to do the same. (Great, if I follow thru, I have to torture 6 other people. So watch out.)

1. I hate water. Swimming is not a "recreational" activity for me, but more like something I learned to do (like CPR or the heimlich) in the event that I had to perform a lifesaving technique. Like maybe I could paddle myself, say, 20 feet to safety. (God forbid!) As long as I can touch bottom (and preferably SEE it), I'm okay. And if it's not too cold. And doesn't have big waves. Like, you know, maybe in the bathtub.

2. My mom claims that I learned to read when I was 2. I cannot verify this fact, but I cannot remember not being able to read.

3. I have stated previously that I was raised by cats. We had three when I was born, three when I was growing up, and I am owned by four cats now. I still hold to this fact. (See number one for further corroboration.) I remain stubbornly nocturnal, although my mother blames this on the fact that she worked the night shift at the hospital during her pregnancy with me.

4. I stick my tongue out when I am concentrating on something, like writing, and probably when I'm knitting and crocheting as well. I've done it ever since I was little, and can't seem to break the habit.

5. I organize and tidy things up when I'm nervous or stressed out. I can't work or concentrate at a messy desk. I'm not a particularly clean person, but I like things to be neat. In other words, the house can be coated in dust and cat hair, but a pile of clutter will drive me to distraction.

6. When I stopped drinking and doing drugs ten years ago, I found out I was bipolar. This has been a weird adventure all of its own, requiring a lot of experiments with doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and psychotherapists, a pharmacy-full of medications, two nice little vacations in the psych ward, and a real roller coaster of mental health experiences. Then, once I seemed to be reaching something like stability, my thyroid failed. I still have good days and bad days, so if you don't see me for a couple days here and there, I'm probably having a bad day or two. However, knitting, felting, and spinning seem to be quite good therapy for this.

There, is that six things already? Gee, and I didn't even get to tell you how I think being a Gemini with Virgo moon and Virgo rising (not to mention a Virgo mother) contribute to my personality quirks and conflicts, or my theories on being born in the Year of the Monkey. Well, I'll save that for another post...

new things done with strings

Isis models my second intarsia attempt.
I used this skull pattern.

As you can see, I had some assistance.

The red thing is my first try at crochet.
After inventing some stitches, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it.
Learning new things made all of our brains hurt,
and required a long post-crochet nap.

Just don't tell Isis that I showed you her bikini area.


Pixies and Pirates

I'm finally back. Yes, yes, I know I said I'd be back on Thursday. (Promises, promises!) We actually returned on Friday evening, and it's taken me the weekend to recuperate from vacation. It was a great little trip: much napping, some knitting, good eating, some great thrifting...but you know, I'm not used to so much human contact.

Then we had our two new llamas arrive on Saturday morning, so much excitement was had here at the O'K Corral here over the weekend. (More on that in another post.) And I had my first crocheting lesson with my grandma. Turns out she learned to crochet when whe was 8, meaning she's been at it for 80 years. She does want to knit, which she somehow never learned to do. Crocheting, it turns out, is harder than it looks, and I need to practice. Something about holding that yarn in my laft hand...bah. Anyway...

One nearly finished project, the Dream Baby yellow pixie hat. It just has some ties that need to be added. If I'd wanted to keep it simple, I would've made I-cord, but no, I'm knitting a 26-inch band to go around the back of the hood as per the pattern. I think I'm also going to make a pom-pom to go atop the point, just to make the baby look as silly as possible. (I have no babies--isn't that the point?)

And one actually finished project, a large wristband for a friend. I used the S'n'B wristband pattern with Severina's cool Jolly Roger skull chart and this was my first intarsia attempt. Not great, but not awful. If he doesn't like it, it makes a nice headpiece for a sock monkey.


We Have Winners!

We have our winners! Many thanks to everyone for voting. Here is the hat from which the lucky names were drawn.

Contrary to original plans, Morgan and Isis did not select the winning names. At the last moment, fear that they would bend, fold, mutilate, hide, or swallow said names gripped me, and I asked instead for a human participant. Mr. O'Kitten stepped up to the plate and choose two slips at random from aforementioned hat.

And the winners of O'Kitten's first ever contest are Sunshyne and Rhelynn!

As Sunshyne expressed quite an interest in the tortoiseshell-esque buttons some days ago, she will receive the set of vintage buttons and some O'Kitten bionic fridge maglets. RheLynn has her choice of Button set A, B, or C, and will also get some fridge maglets. Woot! Congratulations, grrls!

I regret not posting sooner, but family visiting from out of town kept me happily busy over the weekend. Game night was a highlight, featuring Scattergories, Taboo, and Apples to Apples. I learned two new games as well, Phase Ten (a rummmy-like but colorful card game) and Sets. If anyone knows where I can get my hands on this last one, let me know--it was really cool and quite addictive. As you can see, Morgan was thoroughly worn out by the end of the evening...

...but it takes more than a marathon night of games and constant entertaining by my 12 and 14-year-old nieces to exhaust Isis.

Eventually, it does happen. Kittens wind down; batteries must be recharged.

O'Kitten will now be on a three-day break to visit some people at a lake somewhere northerly in a place she has never been before. I note here that kittens, including this one, do not like to get wet, but there will be much napping and knitting, and food is promised. We shall return on Thursday or Friday. Wishing all a wonderful week, and bountifully recharged batteries!


Where to find an obsidian kitten

A Dutch friend sent me this lovely satellite photo of the Michigan mitten from a Dutch newspaper. Obsidian is right in the palm of the hand.

This morning I woke up early--a rarity--and the fields were covered in mist. It portends a warm, muggy day, but it is on mornings like this that I particularly love being on a farm. On mornings like this, I walk out on our little deck, and this is the view to which I am treated.
Good morning, barn!

I am so delighted with everyone's feedback on my O'K buttons! What a joy to hear from everyone. Voting is open until midnight tomorrow (Saturday), so if you haven't weighed in yet, it's not too late. Don't forget: there will be prizes, and Morgan and Isis are itching to wiggle their paws in the drawing hat!

You've seen the vintage buttons, and here are the other three sets of buttons that may be given away to the lucky prize winner, along with Obsidian Kitten's bionic fridge maglets!

Set A: Black-and-silver and black-and-gold, mostly.

Set B: Assortment of sizes with crests on them.

Set C: Mod, mostly white-and-silver and a few white-and-gold. The ones on the right are lil flower-shaped white-and-silver ones. (Penny is for size comparison.)

And finally, critter blanket #2 is finished! 21 x 24", along with one last catnip mouse (he's a zebra) and two really roll-y felted cat balls. Off to Rebekah today, and just in time. I know it's not much to look at, but it is nice and squashy for napping, and hopefully some lonesome animal will like it just fine.


Morgan Discovers Houseplants

It had to happen sooner or later.

Morgan found the houseplants. She is quite the climber, after all.

I just didn't think she would find her way up that close to the ceiling this soon.

And yes, plant did wind up meeting floor shortly thereafter. (And you thought nothing exciting ever happened at the O'K Corral...)

Later, very innocent kittens are found sleeping atop dryer, far from any evidence of aforementioned houseplant accident.

Behold: Buttons! Some rhinestones, some velvety, some whirly.
Some buttons may be yours...scroll down and vote
on the O'Kitten button if you have not yet partaken in the votefest.
And if you have...O'K thanks you!


Gluttony of Buttonry, or Win! Win! Win!

MsFortuknit made me some buttons! Now I don't know what to do. I need some opinions! I need YOU to VOTE!

I like the kooky Hell'o'Kitten button you see now on the sidebar, but Sanrio will probably come and get me someday. Case in point: Starbucks came after a friend of mine some years ago for making a Star&ucks sticker. I will not fill in the blank "&" for you here, but it was not the letter B or even the letter S. It was very Funny. Anyway, they made him pay. How did they every find out? Who knows? They are everywhere...

If you are kind enough to vote, I will put your name into a hat and there will be prizes. Yes! Prizes! Morgan and Isis will draw from the hat, and the winner will receive a set of ObsidianKitten bionic fridge maglets and a box of buttons. Yes, buttons! The kind you can sew onto things. I will post a photo tomorrow to entice you. I have some vintage buttons and boxes of many sizes--large to small, many that actually match. Enticed? Vote by midnight Saturday, July 15 (EST) to win win win!

Please choose from:
No. 1: Cheshire Cat Juggling Green Yarn

No. 2: Cheshire Cat with Yarn Under His Hat

No. 3: Black Kitten (black and white)

Now, vote ahoy!